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Anthropological Center for Training and Research on Global Environmental Change

A Research Center of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Indiana University Bloomington
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1998-2007: Human And Physical Dimensions Of Land Use/Cover Change In Amazônia Forest Regeneration And Landscape Structure (Phases I and II) (funded by NASA/LBA)


Description Building on 25 years of research experience in the Eastern Amazon, this study advances our understanding of land use and land cover change. It is developing a Spectral Library that will serve the research community and assist in testing of a new generation of sensors (e.g. TM7). This project builds on a seven-region study, along the LBA transects, supported for the past six years by NSF and NIGEC, and encompassing a sample of 100+ sites. We use a nested-georeferenced approach that included soil analysis, vegetation stand structure and composition, land use histories, institutional analyses, demography of households, and land cover classification using Landsat TM multitemporal data to understand the rates of growth of secondary vegetation. The seven regions' study provides a wide array of land uses and land cover along an east-to-west transect extending from the Amazon estuary and Bragantina region east of Belém near the Atlantic coast, all the way to the Tapajos/Santarem region with a Rondnia site now also being added. This 160,000 km2 area will be examined for land cover changes and their relation to past patterns of land use for a minimum of no less than 25 years. We propose in this NASA/LBA project to extend this work by:


A. Combining field inventories of soil and vegetation to quantify ecological thresholds driving structural and functional dynamics (e.g. rates of regrowth and species replacement) of secondary succession areas subjected to different land use histories across the seven study regions;


B. Developing measures of landscape structure and spatial and temporal dynamics of different land use scenarios, resulting in models of socioeconomic, institutional, and demographic determinants of land use and cover change;


C. Developing a spectral library of land cover classes present that can be applied to previous (MSS and TM5) and forthcoming sensors (TM7) through the integration of the cited vegetation inventories, image calibration, and hyperspectral field assessment;


D. Ensuring robust contribution to LBA, we will take this opportunity to synthesize, model, and share data by linking ACT's and INPE's data sets and experience to other primary and secondary data sets along LBA's east-west transect and to the work in Rondônia of colleagues at INPE and with Virginia Dale, et al. at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). We foresee close collaboration with them on modeling land use and land cover, spatial analysis metrics, environmental analysis, and a participatory model; and


E. Providing hands-on experience to a cohort of Brazilian students in their work on land use/cover change and the human dimensions of such change in research in the Amazon region leading to doctoral degrees, and to provide other opportunities for mid-career training preferentially to colleagues at Amazônian institutions.


This study will provide a suite of site-specific, multitemporal satellite and field data and analyses of land use and land cover change dynamics within the comparative framework proposed by LBA. Hyperspectral calibration of a range of land covers of interest to LBA, such as mature upland and floodplain forests, stages of secondary successional vegetation, selectively logged forests, pastures, annual and perennial cropped fields, and savannas, will be an important component of this study. We will develop a detailed understanding of both spatial and temporal scaling from household/farm area to regional scale.
Building on 30 years of research experience in the Amazon, this study will advance our understanding of land use and land cover change through integrative science activities and by collaboration with 11 other LBA projects. This project builds on a seven-region study, along the LBA transects, supported for six years by NSF and NIGEC, and then for the past three years by LBA funds. We have used a nested-georeferenced approach that collected soil analyses, vegetation stand structure and composition (100+ sites), land use histories, institutional analyses, demography of 600+ households, and land cover classification using Landsat MSS and TM multitemporal data to understand land use and land cover change (LCLUC) trajectories. The seven regions in our study represent a soil fertility gradient across Amazônia from most (i.e. alfisols) to least (i.e. spodosols) fertile and include a wide array of land uses and land cover types along an east-to-west transect extending from the Amazon estuary and Bragantina region east of Belém, all the way to Rondônia in the west.


We propose in Phase II of this NASA/LBA project to extend this work by:


1. Developing a multi-scale synthesis of land use and land cover change dynamics integrating our seven study areas, in order to understand the role of demographic, economic, institutional and biophysical variables on LCLUC trajectories during the past 25 years.


2. Developing a multi-sensor analysis of the capabilities and limitations of different platforms (IKONOS-TM & ETM+-MODIS) for land cover discrimination using the full capabilities of artificial neural networks for classification and modeling.


3. Developing an integrated study of land use, land cover, and land-water interactions by using a watershed approach, encompassing at least two of our most intensive research sites (i.e. the Santarém-Altamira region), thereby addressing fundamental questions of the landscape-level controls on nutrient-carbon interactions within, and sustainability of forests in the Amazon Basin.


4. Developing a comprehensive scientific collaboration strategy to contribute to modeling and synthesis efforts by formal collaboration with 11 LBA projects, hands-on training, and dissemination of a data management CD for the benefit of all of LBA.


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